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Fresh off comfortably winning her congressional primary race, Marjorie Taylor Greene is espousing another strange conspiracy theory: that the government is planning to force Americans to eat fake meat grown by Bill Gates in a “peach tree dish”.
The far-right congresswoman made the bizarre claim in a weekend live stream watched by supporters.
“The government totally wants to provide surveillance on every part of your life,” the congresswoman said to camera. “They want to know when you’re eating. They want to know if you’re eating a cheeseburger, which is very bad because Bill Gates wants you to eat his fake meat, which is grown in a peach tree dish.
“So you’ll probably get a little zap inside your body,” she said, adopting a mock spasm of pain, “and that’s saying, ‘No no! Don’t eat a real cheeseburger, you need to eat the fake, the fake burger, the fake meat from Bill Gates.”
Ms Greene’s various paranoid conspiracy theories have been shot through with assorted malapropisms, most notoriously a reference to “Nancy Pelosi’s Gazpacho Police”. Like her other verbal missteps, this one has drawn a hurricane of ridicule, and the clip in which she refers to a “peach tree dish” has already had more than 2 million views.
However, the future-of-meat argument in which she situated her mangled words is not just a laughing matter, but a common theme in right-wing thinking about the cultural and political import of meat-eating.
The notion of a “war on meat” has gained currency on the right in recent years, and in some extremist circles, the ostentatious consumption of red meat has become a signifier of masculinity and unapologetic white American identity.
This issue not long ago surfaced at a congressional hearing on the recruitment of veterans into anti-government extremist groups. One Republican congressman, Jim Banks, used his time to tear into an expert witness, Cynthia Idriss-Miller, who had detailed this point in her research.
Quoting a tweet in which she wrote that “far-right soup kitchens put pork and lentils in their soup to exclude Muslims and Jews”, an infuriated Mr Banks asked: "Dr. Miller-Idriss, I had hamburger last night – do you believe that I am an extremist? Does eating red meat make someone an extremist?”
Dr Miller-Idriss pointed out that she eats red meat herself, and that the matter was not the focus of the hearing.